Japanese Tsunami Dock Washes Up in Oregon

Biologists fear invasive species hitched a ride
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 6, 2012 11:31 PM CDT
Updated Jun 7, 2012 6:45 AM CDT
Japanese Tsunami Dock Washes Ashore in Oregon
The surf pounds against the massive dock that washed ashore on Agate Beach in Newport, Ore.    (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

The West Coast has encountered its largest piece of tsunami debris yet—an entire dock that was ripped from its moorings by the monster wave that hit Japan 15 months ago. The 66-foot structure was spotted floating off the coast of Oregon on Monday and washed ashore sometime yesterday. It's one of four docks torn from the fishing port of Misawa. Two are still missing, reports the Oregonian.

So what now for the well-traveled dock? Officials in Misawa say they are not seeking its return, and suggest it could be of use in Oregon, but biologists want to get rid of it as soon as possible. A starfish native to Japan has been found clinging to the dock, and experts believe it contains huge numbers of other organisms, some of which are invasive species never seen before on that part of the West Coast. "This is a very clear threat," a marine biologist tells the AP, comparing the dock to a bowling ball thrown into a china shop. (Read more Oregon stories.)

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